What a week: ATL Meltdown, New Bag Fees, SkyMiles Value, Bu-bye Alaska & Tons More News!

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Photo credit: Steve Barnes

Is December ever boring in Deltaland? I don’t think so. Years ago we were “blessed” with C+ “side-grade” seats and to this day I still want to crush my phone each time I get a fake Delta “you have been upgraded” email.

Speaking of Delta IT – was this a “fun” weekend or what (OK, if you were flying it was likely an or what weekend). In the middle of the snowstorm Delta again and again had many hours where Delta.dumb and the Fly Delta App simply did not work at all. I will give Delta credit as in the past, as we have seen, these events would have become a complete IT meltdown whereas now they only last for a few hours so that is some progress, right.

Oh and as I blogged about before Delta apparently, for iOS at least, has with the latest App upgrade implemented the option to opt-out of center seat C+ side-grades. Nice for iOS users. Android folks are still stuck on horrid 4.6 with the auto check-in. Last bit on this, it seems some older Android phones and some old iOS iPads are now no longer supported with the Fly Delta App. My wife has an S4 mini that runs Android 4.4.2 and I guess it is time for her to upgrade!

I love more bag fee’s – you?

On to yet another Keep Descending change. We all should hate E Basic fares because, unlike the lie that is told by all the airlines – that it lowers prices (they don’t) these fares replace what was once the lowest price with more restrictions. Well Delta has this week decided that you have to pay a bag fee if you buy an E Basic fare to Europe – thanks a lot Delta! Many have asked if you have the Delta Amex card if you still get a free bag. The T&C from Amex does not exclude any Delta operated flight so I say yes and would press them if they try to charge you. Or, after the fact if you must, gripe to Amex and have them give you a credit if Delta charges you.

You also likely got the festive news that you can now buy Delta gift cards (vs. other junk gift cards) and redeem your SkyMiles at a mega 7/10th cents each. That is now the official floor of the value of a SkyMile. Lest we forget, not too many years ago, you could get a $100 Amex gift card for 9/10th of a cent each. Yes, SkyMiles still has some value but please earn and burn them and focus on other more valuable points please.

Also this week we learned that more Skyteam partners are dumping Alaska as earn and burn partners. This follows the exit that began about this time last year with Delta dumping the plucky little west coast airline that to this day still has the best domestic frequent flyer program and is THE winner despite Delta in their PR advertising they won (they came in 2nd). Fewer ways to get value and fly Skyteam is sad but this is not really a shocking move to most of us.

OK maybe not really directly a Delta update but one that could impact you if you fly Delta. Those who, years ago, were wise enough to follow my direction and get the City National card (and have kept this yearly money maker) now get more perks. You can get, with 50k spend, enough credit to pay for your individual Sky Club membership (currently $495). You can redeem CNB points for ~1.2 cents each flying or for Visa gift cards at ~ 8/10th cents each so it could be a break even with creative spending to get this credit. Oh and even better, for me, is the Ground Link car service discount. I will be blogging soon about Ground Link and I simply LOVE the service!

Photo Credit; Delta News Hub

On a more positive note pseudo partner Westjet is becoming a “real” partner soon if Delta gets their way. While we may be happy about many of these JV partner changes I can tell you Delta pilots are not all too thrilled over much of this. Expect all these type of changes to come up next time contract negations come up.

Oh I have take the time to update the Delta Premium Select SkyMiles award charts to Europe. Since Delta will not publish the award charts I am beyond thrilled that we have these real-time up to date user supported charts to compare. Never let Delta over charge you for an award – EVER! If this seems too much for you please use my friend Adam to book your awards.

Thanks to Boeing being stupid about Delta and the CS100 (Boeing does not make a jet anymore the size of the CS100 fyi) it seems that Skyteam partner AeroMexico is now maybe going to get the CS100s that Delta was due to get in 2018. Oh it is fun to think about how this fight will work out. If I were a betting man I would put my money on Delta over Boeing because as we all should know at this point in life “Delta is not an airline – they are a Southern law firm that just happens to fly a LOT of jets“!

I really hope the rest of the month of December is a bit more quiet and no further revelations come out from the $DAL earnings call coming up next week. I will be listening in to see if any new nuggets are revealed and what impact it could have on us as frequent flyers! – René

 

PS – It seems in the middle of the weekend snow mess, Delta did find time for a Schedule Change Saturday so check your flights (and seats) please!